State Committed To Multicultural Preparedness

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

September 21, 2007

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) recognizes September as National Preparedness Month, a national initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. September 16 to 21 has been nationally designated as Multicultural Preparedness Week.

The intent for public health planning through MDCH's Office of Public Health Preparedness is to be inclusive. The goal is to assure that every person in the community has and understands the information needed to prepare, cope, and recover when there is a public health emergency.

One key multicultural preparedness resource provided to Michigan citizens is the preparedness website - www.michigan.gov/prepare - which provides proactive emergency planning information for individuals, families, and businesses. Most importantly, the website offers preparedness resources in a range of languages. MDCH's Office of Public Health Preparedness (OPHP) produced and distributed the booklet "Preparing for a Public Health Emergency" in English, Spanish, and Arabic. All three language versions of the booklet are available through Michigan's preparedness website. OPHP actively partnered with Hispanic and Latino churches and associations to effectively distribute the booklets to Michigan's Spanish-speaking communities. Similarly, OPHP collaborated with mosques, Arabic churches, and Islamic centers to distribute the booklets to the Arab-American communities across Michigan.

MDCH routinely partners with other State of Michigan offices and external agencies to bring Michigan's citizens timely multicultural preparedness information. In collaboration with the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth's Division on Deaf and Hard of Hearing, MDCH recently produced the DVD and companion website "Preparing for a Public Health Emergency" in American Sign Language. The companion website is freely available to Michigan citizens at http://breeze.mdch.train.org/p21037260/.

The Public Information Coalition meets regularly to discuss outreach channels for diverse populations. This multicultural group has representation from Arab-Americans, Latino-Americans, blind, deaf and hard-of-hearing, migrant workers, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, Native Americans, and many other underserved populations.

MDCH also actively partners with the Michigan Association for Local Public Health, Michigan Commission for the Blind, the Office on Aging, Refugee/Migrant Services, Children's Special Healthcare Services, Michigan State University and Extension, Wayne State University's Developmental Disabilities Institute, and Michigan 2-1-1 to effectively deliver preparedness information to Michigan's diverse population.